Couple restores mining-era boardinghouse outside Silverton
Dr. Bob Brokering always wanted a little log cabin in the woods, so when his wife was in Europe, he bought one.
Only it wasn’t little. It was the historic miners’ boarding house adjacent to the Animas River outside Silverton near Eureka – 11,000 square feet of uninsulated and unheated rooms, pack-rat nests, sagging ceilings and bedrooms with no interior doors. He loved it. For his wife, Terri, affection took a little longer.
Dr. Bob is a board-certified family physician and Terri a nurse. They’ve been a team for decades. So turning a three-story, unfinished, 1929 boardinghouse into one of the premiere settings for weddings, reunions and retreats on Colorado’s Western Slope took time. And money. And patience. And skill.
Dr. Bob has plenty of those attributes. How else do you get a drink named after you at Montanya Distillers Tasting Room in Silverton? Just sample “Dr. Bob’s Snake Oil.”
He’s proud of delivering “a few hundred” babies, and he worked as an emergency room physician in Glenwood Springs, Telluride, Delta, Rifle, Meeker and Kremmling. Dr. Bob admits he’s “taken out some bullets” and once was paid in mutton, but nothing in his medical practice prepared him for renovating a vintage boardinghouse.
While working on the project, including listing it on the National Register of Historic Places, Dr. Bob made time to open a Saturday medical clinic in Silverton. Because San Juan County and town had no physician, he volunteered. Occasionally, he was paid in doorknobs and antique cameras.
Making the structure habitable was a labor of love assisted in part by members of their Presbyterian church congregation from Glenwood Springs. Historian and archivist Nik Kendziorski of Fort Lewis College says Eureka Lodge is “one of the best-preserved and largest boardinghouses still standing in the San Juan Mountains.”
The views are magnificent. The property straddles the Animas River and steep slopes nearby include Eureka Mountain (12,929 feet) and Niagara Peak (13,807 feet). The boardinghouse’s third floor is at exactly 10,000 feet.